I was one of the expert mentors at The British Library last Wednesday for Global Entrepreneurship Week, and I had a great time speaking to over 40 business owners in all stages of setting up and running their companies.
(If you were one of them, I’m giving you a special wave right now – thanks for making the day so much fun).
There were a few things that really stuck in my mind from the day, and one was a conversation that I had with a woman who seemed to be looking for a definitive formula on how to market her business.
Her expectations are not uncommon, and are reflected in a lot of the questions that I get asked that sound something like: “Do I have to [insert marketing activity here]?”.
What this lady was looking for was a conclusive answer to her marketing issues with an ABC list of what needed to be done. However, when presented with that list, she didn’t want to engage with some of the things that I suggested to her.
So there I was with this lady who was really resisting the suggestions that I’d made, and who kept asking me “but do I HAVE to?”, and I told her “no”.
I told her “no” because you don’t HAVE to do anything at all.
You should do SOMEthing in terms of marketing, but there are so many options available to you that you can start with the things that feel right to you, and seem like you might enjoy them a bit too. You certainly don’t have to start with any marketing techniques that set your teeth on edge.
This is your get out of jail free card, and you are welcome to use it whenever you like.
So, when someone suggests a new marketing strategy to you, have a think about it before you do anything. Then, if you feel like you might enjoy it, or it could be good for your business, go ahead.
If you don’t want to do it, invoke your get out of jail free card and put it to one side (at least temporarily).
For example, I had a client who was a coach, and she was aware that one of the best ways for coaches to attract new clients is to show off their expertise. So she had started a weekly email newsletter.
It was a good newsletter, with a meaty main article, useful tips, and little exercises that her readers could do to improve their work and personal lives.
However, it took her TWO DAYS every week to write it, and she was always overwhelmed by feeling that she didn’t have enough to write about. In short it was stressful to produce and she HATED it.
So, together we decided to ditch the weekly newsletter.
Of course, once that was out of the way she had a whole two days every week that she could use to do other stuff, not to mention the relief she felt at not ‘having’ to produce her newsletter every week on schedule.
After we ditched the newsletter we looked at what she was good at instead, and what we found was that she was more comfortable being responsive, so if she found an interesting article she could comment on it, and if a client asked her a question she really came into her own.
To capitalise on her skills I helped her to create a Facebook Page for her business and set her up to update it via email. She then made sure she posted something on it every day – which maybe would take her 5 minutes at a time and would usually be a quote, a link to an article, or a link to a video
that she thought her audience would find useful.
The other thing we did was to survey her mailing list for their biggest worry. We then (with permission) turned these into Agony Aunt style questions which she answered on her blog. We also set up the blog to feed to her Facebook Page and Twitter account, so that people could read her responses there too.
Finally, we made sure it was easy for people to subscribe to her blog with an RSS feed, and changed her newsletter sign-up box so that people knew they would only get a monthly email from her. That monthly email was a simple summary of the best bits from that month’s Facebook and blog posts, and took her about 30minutes to put together once we’d created a template.
The result was actually MORE contact with her community, rather than less, and a much happier and more productive client – all because she used her get out of jail free card to escape from her weekly newsletter!
Member since: 27th July 2011
Marketing Mentor, speaker, trainer and published writer. Happy to be a business member of The Best Of as well as a personal member.